Blog,  Write

A Review of Goodreads Reviews

Have you ever noticed some book reviews on Goodreads are brutal? So much hate seems to come from readers for a variety of reasons. Not liking a book and not recommending it is one thing but tearing something apart seems so harsh.

I read a book recently that I really rather enjoyed. After finishing it and rating it on Goodreads, I was reading some of the reviews for the book that absolutely trashed what I had just read and enjoyed. Like, am I suddenly wrong to like this book? It seemed that way.

Of course, there were plenty of people who did in fact like the book and praised it. But it seems like there was a great divide. Either trash or treasure.

Read letter board books

All of this came from one of my writing friends who is a published author (#goals). I was telling her how I was creeping on all her book on Goodreads. She proceeded to tell me, “I never go on there.” She refuses to read any of her reviews on Goodreads. Until she pointed out just how mean some of the readers on the sight can be, did I realize she was right. Her mantra: do not engage.

Anyway, I think it’s hard from not just from a reader’s perspective but a writer’s perspective. I know how damn hard it is to write a book.

I like a balanced review. Things liked versus things not liked. I absolutely love all the bloggers who write book reviews. I think most bloggers do a nice job of digging deeper and reviewing a book in its entirety (and not just ranting). I want to make up my own mind in a way. If I trusted ever reviewer’s opinion, I’d never read another book! I mean that’s the nature of opinions.

And the book that everyone seems to hate on the internet, heck it entertained me! That’s not a bad thing. I read it, I liked, I will probably read the rest of the series and be entertained. Not all books change my life but to be honest, this book was something I needed. A little inspiration and a little entertainment to get me into reading again. Because I really was in a massive reading slump.

I mostly use Goodreads to track my books. I rarely engage in reviews or write them. (I do write reviews about books I enjoyed here on the ol’ blog). I don’t often rate books as 1 star. Or even 2 stars. Call me what you like but I just know that some books aren’t for me. And some books are. But I won’t completely shame or degrade a book if it’s not for me.

Simple writing doesn’t bother me. But then it must have a compelling plot. Or if the plot is not that interesting, the writing needs to be good. But hey, this is just me. I’m a simple creature who likes books that some people trash on the internet.

All of this is coming from a place of fear. I am getting closer and closer to having my book, my labor of love, out in the world. How will I face when my book gets (hopefully) reviewed on the internet?

This is why I have been more absent from my blog lately. I’m not apologizing for that, I’m just saying that I have been working on bigger projects. I’ve been researching literary agents, attempting to draft a query letter, and finishing writing draft three of my book Lady of Despair and Destiny. Not to mention, I am building a thick skin to prepare for all the rejection to come.

Happy Reading and Writing-


  • R. Michael

    I abhor Goodreads. As you pointed out, reviews on there are especially brutal. Even worse, many times books are rated without written reviews. When it comes to my books or books I’m interested in I want to know WHY someone did or didn’t enjoy it. I’ve researched this before and apparently folks rate books based on whether they are interested in it or not, not on reading it and forming an opinion. Obviously, not all reviewers do this, but the entire Goodreads rating system is broken. There is a competitiveness to how “edgy” a reviewer can be, couple that with the fact that ratings are allowed without reviews makes it worse.

    By the way, thanks for regularly stopping by my blog. I appreciate your readership! Hope things go well for you on your writing journey.

    • Hayley Elizabeth

      Wow! That’s so interesting. I really had no idea that people rated books before even reading them. I mean I’ve come across it when someone rates an author they follow new book before a book is even published! You are so right that this is a competitiveness to reviewing on the site. Like I said in my post, I use it mostly to keep track of my books which I like and to easily naviagate summaries, etc.

      And thank YOU for keeping up with my blog. It’s been so nice to “meet” you and support other writers. All the best to you!

  • Mary Drover

    I agree with this so much. A balanced review is the best kind of one. There’s no reason to absolutely drag a book, especially when it’s being posted on such a widely used place where authors probably hang out a lot. I know, as an also hopeful future author, that based on the time I spend on Goodreads now, I’ll probably still be on there a lot once I’m published, and I get that fear. How do you share this thing that people might tear apart? And why is it even necessary to be that way in the first place? It takes so much energy to be mean, and I just don’t get it. It’s more refreshing and just easier to be kind, so I’m right there with you on this.

    • Hayley Elizabeth

      You are so right! And it DOES take so much energy to be mean. I’m always up for some good intentioned constructive criticism, but it’s discouraging when people are purely negative.

      And thanks for reading my blog! Happy writing 🙂

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